• The inability to see through blood remains the main obstacle to the widespread and routine use of angioscopy. Local irrigation with a balanced salt solution is presently the most widely used method to clear the blood. By applying basic principles of irrigation and using a unique, dedicated, irrigation pump, we found that routine angioscopy during lower extremity revascularization that yields consistent high-quality studies is feasible, clinically useful, and safe. Between May 1, 1987, and July 31, 1988, 136 intraoperative angioscopies were performed during 112 peripheral bypass procedures, 15 thrombectomies, 2 embolectomies, and 7 miscellaneous revascularization procedures. Mean total irrigation fluid used in the peripheral bypasses was 398 mL (range, 0 to 1400 mL). Good visual quality was obtained in more than 80% of angioscopies and the failure rate was only 1.8%. On the basis of the findings in 71 of the 136 angioscopies, 78 clinical or surgical decisions were made. No complications were directly attributable to the insertion of the angioscope or use of the pump.
(Arch Surg. 1989;124:604-608)